Cutting-edge chemical vapour fuming process revolutionising crime detection and security
Innovation and benefits
RECOVER is a cutting-edge chemical vapour fuming process which provides unrivalled fingerprint development capabilities. The device is effectively a low-maintenance compact laboratory. A precursor chemical is heated, and the resulting vapour interacts with surfaces to reveal the latent fingerprints. It is effective even on problematic items that have been cleaned, exposed to extreme heat or suffered deformation – surfaces previously considered too difficult to retrieve usable prints from.
The technique was discovered and validated at Loughborough, and a three-way collaboration – comprising the University, CAST and DSTL – was established to develop the game-changing technology. Global forensic manufacturers Foster & Freeman Ltd (F&F) joined them in 2017, providing the necessary expertise to refine and optimise the technology for the security marketplace.
The new fingerprint development system – RECOVER – was commercially launched in late 2018. F&F pay royalties on product sales to DSTL which are shared with the University which, in turn, shares its revenues with the inventors and the School.
Marking a step change in crime detection and security, RECOVER has generated great interest amongst the security sector. F&F have already received orders for the system. Some units are in place and will soon be playing their part in genuine forensic investigations.
The academic team have gained a wealth of knowledge around commercialisation, and Dr Roberto King is now employed by F&F as an R&D Application Specialist. The discovery has resulted in several published papers and media appearances, sharing and promoting the team’s world-leading expertise across both the academic and public arenas.
To continue the close working relationship and knowledge transfer as RECOVER continues to evolve, F&F have established laboratories on the University’s Science and Enterprise Park to produce the chemical reagent used in the RECOVER process. The labs are managed by two former Loughborough PhD students who have sole responsibility for the facility’s successful operations.